One of the most important decisions a health center can make is selecting an Electronic Dental Record (EDR) that offers all the benefits of a paperless, centralized patient record without creating more work for your administrative and billing staff. Health centers all over the country are achieving this ideal by integrating their medical practice management systems with an EDR via the HL7 Interface. Health Level 7 (HL7) is an industry-standard interface protocol that allows electronic health record systems to share real-time data with each other.
As you begin the increasingly important task of selecting an EDR solution that satisfies HL7 technical needs, unique billing needs and back-office posting needs of your clinic, we recommend you ask every potential vendor the following questions:
- Can your software receive inbound ADT messages via the HL7 Interface?
ADT is the patient demographic data your practice management system sends to your EDR to create the patient record and link it with the matching record on your medical side.
- Can your software send outbound DFT messages via the HL7 Interface?
DFT is the dental encounter and financial data your practice management system receives and processes in order to provide central billing for both medical and dental services from one system. It also allows central reporting for both medical and dental services for UDS and other reports necessary for funding from one system.
- Can the software easily produce canned UDS and other reports necessary for federal requirements and funding?
A federally qualified community health center must have canned UDS reporting, including tables 3A, 3B, 4, 5, 6 and 9, required both at the local and federal levels on patient ethnicity/race, language, poverty level, homeless status, veteran status and migrant status.
- Is the software HIPAA-compliant?
Be sure your vendor has a HIPAA officer to ensure their software meets the same requirements as your clinic.
- Does the software allow multisite logic with centralized billing, scheduling and reporting?
Multisite logic is critical if you have multiple clinics and need to be able to manage your billing, scheduling and reporting in one centralized location.
- Does the software operate in an open SQL database environment for ease of integration and full access to data tables for custom reporting?
No two clinics are the same, so it should be a priority for your EDR vendor to provide open access to your SQL database for reporting and data aggregation among
- Does the software provide a user-friendly, industry-known electronic restorative and periodontal charting system, with fully integrated digital X-ray and imaging options?
An electronic restorative and periodontal chart with integrated digital X-ray should be a standard feature and must have a short learning curve.
- Does the software provide a wide range of reports based on payor source?
The EDR solution should offer useful, customizable reports, including day sheets, aging reports, financial reports, various patient lists, reference reports, patient tracking and more. Because the need for custom reports is so diverse, a powerful custom-list capability should also be available with the functionality to browse reports, easily send batches of letters or recall cards, send a quick personal letter and print selective pages.
- Can the software provide automatic sliding fees based on a patient’s income level?
The EDR solution should have a sliding fee schedule feature that automatically adjusts your standard fee for service down to the appropriate reduced fee based on either a patient’s income level or a Medicaid Fee Schedule. For example, if a patient is only able to pay 20% of your standard fee, then a $100 fee should automatically adjust down to $20. This will allow you to create UDS reports for your standard production showing all sliding fee adjustments. Full medical cross-coding should also be available with CDT, CPT and ICD-9.
- Does your software maintain an encounter number for each patient visit, allowing for certain encounter-based reports and encounter-based requirements for HL7 functionality?
The EDR solution should have an encounter feature that allows a Community Health Center to report on the number of encounters in a given year. Encounters must be able to report by ethnicity, language, gender, age, etc.
- Does your software take into account the unique, dental-specific scheduling needs of my clinic and provide the appropriate electronic scheduler to satisfy these needs?
Because dentistry offers a number of solutions to a problem, such as extracting a tooth or providing a root canal, treatment planning is an invaluable tool in the solution process. The EDR solution should have options that can be prioritized to show the most urgent needs first. A plan should then be easily presented on screen or on paper to the patient, showing the best plan and the estimated amount due per procedure or per visit.
Call 1.800.372.4346 or visit www.dentrixenterprise.com/connect and view a demonstration of Dentrix Enterprise’s EDR capabilities and how it can empower your organization..